Now, to the update: Joss Whedon, the uber-cool writer and director of some of our favorite vampires (and vamp-slayers...Buffy and Mr. Pointy? C'mon!) is NOW going to be directing some of our favorite American comic book superheroes in The Avengers, set for release on May 12, 2012. The Avengers will have an alphabet soup of Marvel tough guys like our favorite Stark-figure, Iron Man; the lovable BIG-green, the Incredible Hulk; Valhalla doesn't call him THE viking for nothing: Thor! And let's not forget the man with the American-flag tan, Captain American! Seriously, this is every comic book geek's wet dream...well, at least it's mine. When I saw the news, I was BURSTING to tell you all. Why so excited? Joss Whedon--that's why! Yes, along with the Marvel-ous Stan Lee, I am a Facebook fan. But it's more than Whedon's charm and good looks that endears him to me as a self-proclaimed comic-book freak--it's his eye for the story.
Like Bryan Singer (director of the X-1 and X-2 adaptations), Whedon's ability to build authentic story around well-drawn characters is exceptional. My best guess--if you could buy stock in Marvel Enterprises...do it now! The Avengers will be a SUPER hot movie. 2012 will be littered with luch boxes, posters, action figures, and yes...comics! I've been pushing my sources about the Marvel flicks scheduled over the next five years--particularly about those movies that include X-Men. Whedon's name was associated with a Wonder Woman movie script that sadly, has yet to come to pass. With accolades like Serenity, and the in-production 2011 flick, Goners, a horror-fantasy about a young woman named Mia who sees the world in a mystical sort of way, Whedon is primed and ready for his Avenger revenge!
Whedon's list of writing credits is a long one and includes, somewhat surprisingly, some of our favorite animated films like Toy Story, Titan AE and Atlantis. My favorite part about Whedon's work is how he brings the human-factor to every single one of his characters and storylines. In a recent interview about his latest, Goners, Whedon talked about the value of human life. Sometimes, writers and directors of science fiction and fantasy make human life, or any sentient existence, expendable. People are incinerated or destroyed in some horrible way here and there and everywhere (War of the Worlds...need I say more???). One of the biggest offenders is director Brett Ratner, the NYU-phenom who was invited by Sir Stevie Spielberg to Hollywood after sending Spielberg a demo at age 17, LOVES to kill people off--usually in explosions. But when dealing in the Marvel universe, the heroes are thoughtful, philosophical folk--Storm struggles with her fear and dislike of humans yet still saves them, in mass quantities. Even rough-around-the-proverbial-edges, Wolverine, values human life. So when you put a director like Ratner in the chair for films with a soul, the result is...well, disappointing. A guy like Joss Whedon recognizes the soul--not just of his vampires like Angel and Spike from the Buffy-verse, but in EVERYTHING he does. Apply that soul to the 2012 Avengers flick, and...Yahtzee! Bring it on! And while you're at it, Hollyhood, bring on Whedon for Wonder Woman, too! No one writes truly GREAT female heroes (both superhuman and otherwise) like Joss Whedon. He's just lovely. And I CANNOT wait to see him work his magic on some of my favorite supes!
Now that my comic-gasm is over, I'll end with a quote from my favorite mythological (and mythical) scholar, Joseph Campbell: "The images of myth are reflections of every one of us. Through contemplating these, we evoke their powers in our own lives." Whether your pop culture yen is for vampires, superheroes or both, the fantastical super-heroic figures of both worlds are part of our twenty-first century mythology. We all need to escape to a place where good triumphs over evil; we all need to believe that heroes still exist--even if it's only on the silver screen.
See you at the movies! Until next time, dearest readers....